Objective: To determine uptake of treatment for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and predictors of deferral of treatment for HCV by using prospectively collected data from the Australian Chronic Hepatitis C Observational Study (ACHOS).
Design, patients and setting: Cohort study involving interview and medical record review at enrolment and routine follow-up clinic visits of patients with chronic HCV and compensated liver disease attending a national network of 24 HCV clinics between April 2008 and December 2009. Eligible patients were those who had not been previously treated, were enrolled within 6 months of their first clinic visit, were eligible for treatment and had been enrolled for at least 6 months.
Results: 1239 patients were enrolled in ACHOS, of whom 406 met the criteria for inclusion in the subcohort for this study. Among this subcohort, 171 (42%) received treatment within 6 months of their first clinic visit. Current injecting drug use (odds ratio [OR], 0.26; 95% CI, 0.08–0.77), past and current treatment for drug dependency (OR, 0.34; 95% CI, 0.18–0.67, and OR, 0.42; 95% CI, 0.22–0.81, respectively) and alcohol use above 20 g/day (OR, 0.20; 95% CI, 0.08–0.46) were independent predictors of deferral of treatment. At least one of these factors applied to 41% of the subcohort. Clinical factors, including HCV genotype, HCV RNA level, and stage of liver disease were not associated with deferral of treatment for HCV.
Conclusion: Factors related to drug and alcohol use, rather than clinical factors, influenced uptake of treatment for HCV. Further support for patients with drug and alcohol dependency is required to optimise treatment uptake.
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